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The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), under the women and Child Development Ministry which recently visited Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, to investigate complaints of female infanticide, has directed the District Administration of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, to reinvestigate the circumstances leading to the death of three baby girls believed to have been killed by their families soon after leaving the health facilities last month. They have been asked to submit a report to the Commission within the next 10 days.
The NCPCR team comprising NCPCR Members Dr Dinesh Laroia, Dr Yogesh Dube, Mr Vinod Kumar Tikoo, Yogesh, a representative of Vikalp, a Jodhpur based NGO working in the areas of child rights and Shefali Awasthi, consultant, NCPCR, visited Jaisalmer and Jodhpur from September 15 to 17 to investigate complaints of female infanticide and other child right violations.
Although the cases of reported female infanticide had been investigated by the district government and the deaths found to be from natural causes, the team found several discrepancies in the statements given by the auxiliary midwife nurses (ANMs) in charge of these cases when they visited the Chor, Sitadoi and Devra villages and the Devikot primary health centre. Official records pertaining to ante natal care services (ANC) for pregnant mothers and childbirth were not maintained properly. In some cases, records related to these baby girls in Chhor Village could not be produced by the concerned ANM, and in Sitadoi Village the ANC register was observed to be fudged.
Another grave violation of child rights found by the team was the solitary confinement of a 16 year old boy in a small room in the Children’s Home in Jaisalmer. Distressed by the denial of basic rights and facilities to the child, the Commission has asked the District Administration to restore his rights immediately.
Several other issues including the high prevalence of child marriage, stigma and discrimination against children infected and affected by HIV and AIDS, inadequate ICDS services, out of school children and weak implementation of the PCPNDT Act were also taken up with the district administration including the Collector, representatives of the departments of social welfare, women and child, labour and police of both Jaisalmer and Jodhpur districts. Strict watch over the 120 Sonography Machines in Jodhpur was ordered by NCPCR team.
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